By: Osman A.M.
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The Government of Somaliland has curtailed the professional services of a private medical practitioner after it has emerged that he was not issued with a professional license to operate locally by the relevant authorities mandated with that.
Hargeisa Police arrested Dr. Ali Maow Aweys at a private clinic in Hargeisa on Thursday on suspicion of not possessing a professional license warranting the practice of medicine in the country after the Mogadishu born Doctor from Europe through his host parties decided to establish a clinic in Hargeisa which even before his entry to the country saw people book for advanced consultations. It is said that a consultation card booked in fulfillment of seeking medical advice from the doctor costs $40 a head exorbitantly higher when compared with fees charged by general physicians -$ 5 being the cheapest & the most expensive charging for & $ 20 for the same services.
The Deputy Minister for Health Hon. Nimo Hussein Qowdan while commenting on the arrest of Dr. Maow Aweys concurred that the Government was not questioning his qualifications or as to his competency but on whether he obtained the license to provide healthcare services as a private doctor in the country.
Ms Qowdan clarified that prior to the doctor’s arrival people connected to him approached the Ministry to facilitate his entry into country as he is not a Somalilander they feared that he would be denied access at the airport & after considering their argument we decided as a ministry to correspond with airport’s authorities to allow the doctor enter the country.
Furnishing the press further on the matter Ms Qowdan said,
“As a ministry we do not issue visas to people coming to the country as that falls within the purview of immigration department but when his local hosts approached us seeking our help we decided to facilitate his smooth entry into our soil given the fact that the doctor originally hails from Somalia & the current stringent security screening at our airports, we decided to write a letter asking Dr. Aweys to be let in the country”.
The Deputy Minister when asked about whether a practicing licensed has been issued to the doctor, she said; “Though it is the ministry that issues the license to both locally & foreign trained doctors, that role is however vested with the National Health Professional Commission (NHPC) that among other functions is empowered with issuance of licenses to professional healthcare providers upon fulfilling the parameters set in the governing statute”.
According to the information provided by reliable sources the police found close to 2000 carbonated copies of official receipts at his premises at the time of effecting arrest which translates to 2000 patients seeing him in the couple of days that he was in the country & if it true that he charging $ 40 per head the arrested doctor pocketed a $ 80,000 in less than a week.
Dr. Ali Maow Aweys was issued with a tourist visa upon setting his foot in the country & it is very naïve therefore for a person of his status to start medical practice in a foreign land without fulfilling the conditions legalizing his trade regardless of existence of emergency situations that were to be attended to. Somaliland is not ‘No-Man’s Land’ that every Tom, Dick & Harry come and establishes business without following the right procedures. Independent & sovereign as it is, it enacts Laws to be dully respected & the Government need to generate revenue from taxes remitted by professional human resource labor obtained through the practice of varied professional trades which is envisaged in its investment plan.
That Dr. Maow Aweys pocketed $ 80,000 for the few days that he was in the country with no taxation cannot be gainsaid. We at Somalilandsun appreciate the swiftness with which the police acted in apprehending the quack doctor who swindled hard earned of our poor folks & laying to his guests that he is a tourist yet he is trading in illegal trade coupled with evading taxes. Appropriate actions must be taken against him so as to deter such unscrupulous caliber of people ever setting foot in Somaliland.
Meanwhile NHPC have issued notices to all locally & foreign trained healthcare providers to forward their academic & professional testimonials so as to formally register their businesses with the commission. NHPC as a national commission is tasked with enforcement & regulatory roles and as such ought not to inactively sit for the occurrence of sagas like this to undertake their duties. NHPC is deemed to have an updated data of healthcare providers operating in the country with each business furnishing the commission with its physical location & the branch of healthcare engaged in as it is an absurdity for a general physician with no specialization to charge poor citizens a whole $ 40 a head for just seeing him yet the Deputy Health Minister told the press that he is a general physician which means he is a general doctor with a first/bachelor degree in medicine & surgery as opposed to a specialized doctor narrowing to treatment of particular diseases.
Elsewhere print media reported that a press conference was called on Tuesday 2 days before the doctor’s arrest by a lady host named Intisar Mohamed Ali who said;
“I want to tell the people of Somaliland that the ministry of Health facilitated the coming of our Dr. Aweys & a permit was issued to him by none other than Health Minister Hon. Suleiman Issa Haglatosie in person.
Initially the doctor was to attend to few patients but due to raised demand brought about by advanced booking it seems he would go before returning for a second trip. I want to tell the people of Somaliland in general & patients in particular not to worry as everyone would be given remedy to cure the disease they are suffering from”.